Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concerns about the strained relationships between his country and several Western nations during a recent ceremony at the Kremlin. The event took place as Putin accepted the credentials of 21 new ambassadors, including representatives from the United Kingdom and Germany.
The United Kingdom and Germany have been strong supporters of Ukraine during the ongoing conflict that Putin initiated in February 2022. As a result, Moscow’s relations with these nations have deteriorated, leading to frequent criticism of officials from the Western countries in Kremlin-approved state media. In addition to providing aid to Kyiv, Western allies have imposed severe economic sanctions on Russia as a response to its invasion, which Putin acknowledged during the ceremony.
As reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP), Putin remarked, “These times are challenging. In the post-World War II era and up until recently, our nations managed to establish relations. However, the current circumstances are widely acknowledged, and we should aspire to an improvement in the situation—for the benefit of our countries and their people.”
Putin also addressed the German ambassador, Alexander Lambsdorff, highlighting Germany’s decrease in energy imports from Russia. He emphasized the longstanding cooperative relationship between the two countries and the importance of supplying ecologically clean gas to Germany. However, Putin mentioned that this cooperation had been disrupted due to the Nord Stream pipeline explosions in September 2022. Russia has previously accused the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine of being involved in the incident, while the three countries have denied any responsibility.
“The explosion of the gas pipe blew up this partnership,” Putin stated.
In addition to the strained ties with the UK and Germany, Putin acknowledged the unstable relations with Sweden, which is preparing to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He also believed that Russia’s relationship with South Korea is currently going through a challenging period.
One notable source of disagreement involving South Korea centers on the increasing alignment between Russia and North Korea. In September, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un paid a visit to Moscow, engaging in a one-on-one meeting with Putin. Officials from the West have expressed apprehensions about potential negotiations between Russia and North Korea concerning the provision of weapons for deployment by Putin’s military in Ukraine.
Overall, Putin’s comments during the ceremony highlighted Russia’s challenges in its relationships with Western nations and other countries. The president expressed hope for improvement while acknowledging the complexities of resolving these issues.